Pumpkin and Eye Health

It’s pumpkin season! Did you know pumpkins are great for your eye health?

Pumpkins have so many health benefits and are great for vision and eye health.  Pumpkins are loaded with vitamins and antioxidants.  They contain vitamins A, C, and E, zinc, lutein, zeaxanthin and other antioxidants.  They are particularly high in beta-carotene, a precursor to vitamin A.  

Pumpkin eye benefits:

- High in zinc.  Zinc is an important mineral essential for a healthy retina.

- A great source of lutein and zeaxanthin.  These antioxidants help to filter out harmful high energy wavelengths of light.  They also help in preventing eye disease.  

- Rich in vitamins.  Vitamin A protects the cornea by fighting bacteria and viruses, reducing the risk of infections.  Vitamin A also helps us to see under low light conditions.  It may even prolong eyesight in people with retinitis pigmentosa, a genetic eye disease that causes gradual deterioration of the eye’s photoreceptor cells of the retina.   One cup of cooked pumpkin has over 200% of your daily value of vitamin A.    Vitamins A, C, and E have been shown to support eye health and prevent degenerative damage.  Theses vitamins can help reduce the risk of cataracts and macular degeneration- two leading causes of adult blindness.

Not all forms of pumpkin have positive health benefits.  Be careful with desserts and treats like a pumpkin spiced latte that contains artificial pumpkin flavoring and pumpkin pie or cake that are loaded with sugar.  Some healthy ways to incorporate pumpkin into our diet include soups, stews, pasta sauce, and hummus. It can also be roasted as a simple side dish.  Pumpkin can also made into a juice smoothie or be mashed and added to yogurt or oatmeal.  When you’re eating pumpkin this fall just remember, it’s not only delicious but it’s great for your vision and overall health!

 

Chelsea Eye Associates